Sometimes the hand of God is so obvious in a situation that it doesn’t make any sense *not* to talk about it. Sometimes people and entities are so tuned into Jesus and to walking the Kingdom Walk that not talking about their existence violates Kingdom rules. Some of those folks have their own promotion engines, and plenty of press, so I let those folks do their own public relations. But this week, I have experienced a local business and family that has been quietly, faithfully, generously walking the Kingdom Talk for 50 years. They’re not “fancy folks,” but they’re actively blessing the communities they serve every day. They are the Lee Family and the Simmons Motel.
Recently I needed local accommodations for a procedure I was having done at MS Hershey Medical Center, in Hershey PA. I had to be there really early in the morning and there is a significant traffic impediment to my getting there anytime before 10am–the commercial traffic jam called “Rte 83 North at rush hour”. So I checked with the HMC social worker and their patient advocacy office, and they told me to contact the Simmons Motel.
When I called the motel, they offered me a 50% discount on the regular room rates, and promised a shuttle service to take me back and forth from the hospital, because health care policy at the hospital dictates (and I do mean *dictates*) that folks don’t drive or operate machinery on days they undergo “general anesthesia”.
Well, I am familiar enough with Rte 83 traffic hazards that I understood exactly why I did not need to drive that highway in “diminished capacity” mode, although just for the record, I have never even had a fender bender on that highway. For me, it’s one of the safest routes to and from my destinations. Folks driving on that highway, generally, know what they’re doing. But back to the story . . .
I checked into the motel about 4pm on Thursday. A member of the family, probably Savannah, was outside the office supervising a repair man when I pulled in. She checked me in to my room, just inside the main building. I requested a one-bed room–I have never understood why hotels give me rooms with 2 beds when I am only one person! So I went to my room and dropped my things off. I needed to walk down the street to the drugstore, to get toothpaste and shampoo in those small, airline-travel size bottles. The ones I had at home were too big to carry.
The room was spotlessly clean, with a queen-size bed, extra blankets in the desk drawer, a desk, and two chairs, and a TV with cable, a microwave and a small refrigerator. I plugged the appliances in and went to the drug store to get my supplies. When I came back, the parking lot had a few more cars. I saw a mother and her young son riding a toy motorcycle in the lot, and from my vantage point, I also looked into one of the apartments of the bed and breakfast they own next door. A man, obviously a patient, was sitting in the room with his family, talking.
Members of the Lee family I had contact with, the matriarch and grandmother, Savannah, her daughter, and David, her tall, winsome grandson, were all kind and supportive. In the middle of our encounters, they shared their own health care issues and hospital stay stories, trying I’m sure, to make me feel less anxious about the reasons for my own stay. They drove me to the hospital and back, turned up the heat in the room, when I asked, and generally made sure I was comfortable, but gave me plenty of privacy. It was like having my own respectful, hands-on support group.
The best feature of my room, after the TV and cable–which I won’t put in my own home for personal reasons but which was a useful distraction in a strange city–was the shower. Man, was that awesome. Never mind the glass door, tiled walls and floor, and abundant linens–that shower head gave me a serious massage! No puny water flow here–it was full, strong, and awesomely refreshing. I hadn’t slept well–anxiety and new quarters always make me restless. But that shower woke me up and got my blood going big time! My grandmother would have been ecstatic! (You know, the one from my previous post–who was seriously invested in moving body fluids?)
There were a few funny asides. The 83-year old widowed matriarch (yeh, she bragged about her age!) came out dressed in a mink coat, and drove me to the hospital with the company car. Nice touch. ; )) On the way over, she talked about fixing a 10-veggie cocktail for all of her kids every day, and hand-delivering it to all of them. After she told me what she put in the “all-natural” mix, I silently praised God I lived outside her delivery zone!
When I got home, I e-mailed friends from my local church, to let them know I was safely home, and to tell them about the Simmons Motel experience. It turns out, the Simmons Motel family is also helping other families in our community who have relatives coming in for significant medical procedures at Hershey from places like Texas. This is a family, who in the middle of their own significant financial, family, and cancer issues, have been actively reaching out to other folks in the same situations, and providing generous, loving support to those who need their services for 50 years.
I’m not going to share their personal stories. Those are meant for the ears of other people who suffer and need encouragement. But I need to tell you all that these folks are out there–ordinary business people, using their business to love and support those folks the Lord brings their way. That’s a testimony we all need to hear.